Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Monsanto and Cargill Aggressively Pursue GE Soy Feed for Factory Fish-Farming Industry

GMO
Monsanto and Cargill Aggressively Pursue GE Soy Feed for Factory Fish-Farming Industry

Food & Water Watch

If proponents of soy in aquaculture have it their way, soy will be used to feed fish in open ocean pens in federal waters, a move that would negatively impact the marine environment as well as the diets of both fish and consumers.

Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe’s new report, Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry is Expanding Into the Sea, shows how a collaboration between two of the most environmentally damaging industries on land and sea—the soy and open ocean aquaculture industries, respectively—could be devastating to ocean life and consumer health. And since much of the soy produced in the U.S. is genetically engineered (GE), consuming farmed fish would likely mean eating fish that are fed GE soy.

“Our seas are not Roundup ready,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Soy is being promoted as a better alternative to feed made from wild fish, but this model will not help the environment, and it will transfer massive industrial farming models into our oceans and further exacerbate the havoc wreaked by the soy industry on land—including massive amounts of dangerous herbicide use and massive deforestation.”

The powerful soy industry, which is well represented in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, stands to gain more than $200 million (€160 million) each year by aggressively promoting the use of soy to feed farmed fish at a time when more and more consumers are eating seafood sourced from aquaculture or fish farms. Close to half of the seafood we consume globally comes from these factory fish farms.

Unfortunately, increased use of soy in fish feed could do greater harm to the health of fisheries by increasing the amount of soybeans grown. Like other monoculture crops, soybeans require large amounts of fertilizer for their production. Much of this fertilizer gets washed off the fields and into waterways that eventually lead to important fisheries such as the Gulf of Mexico or the Chesapeake Bay. The nitrogen and phosphorus from this fertilizer contributes to the dead zones in these fisheries, reducing the number of fish that live there and the ability of fishermen to catch them.

Relying on soy to feed farmed fish could also have devastating affects on consumer choice. In 2007, there were total of 279,110 soybean farms. A 2008 report indicated that only 1,336 soybean farms were certified organic, which do not allow the use of GE crops. This leaves a lot of room for non-organic soybean farms to produce crops from GE seeds. GE soy-fed fish would probably not need to be labeled, so consumers wouldn’t know that they were eating fish fed with GE soy. Considering that Monsanto and Cargill would be big players—two agribusinesses that use GE seeds—this scenario seems likely.

While the soy industry is busy promoting soy as an environmentally friendly alternative to fish feed from wild fish, it is clear that soy is not a natural food for fish to eat, and that its use can be destructive to ocean ecosystems. Fish have a difficult time digesting it, and it causes nutrient deficiency. As a result, fish tend to produce excessive amounts of waste, which attracts disease and bacteria, and disrupts the normal ecology of the immediate marine environment.

Visit EcoWatch's GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM and FACTORY FARMING pages for more related news on these topics.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks during a press conference after a shooting at Forest High School on April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.

Read More Show Less